Opposition president Morgan Tsvangirai is reportedly demanding $7 million to buy off his plush Highlands house and set-up a democracy institute as part of his exit package from the leadership of the MDC-T.
The Zimbabwe Mail reports that impeccable sources in the party said the embattled Tsvangirai 2 weeks ago rejected the $3 million offer to quit as MDC-T president and insisted that he needed at least $7 million to buy the Highlands house he is currently staying in and to set up a Morgan Tsvangirai Institute of Democratic Governance and Social Development.
Tsvangirai is under pressure to quit from hawks within the MDC-T who blame him for the party’s crashing electoral defeat to Zanu-PF in July as well as his love shenanigans.
His problems were compounded when deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma came out guns blazing, calling on the ex-premier to resign and pave way for his deputy, Thokozani Khupe, until an elective extraordinary congress.
Local and international donors, the sources said, had mobilised funds for Tsvangirai to establish the institute, but only after the veteran trade unionists had ceded power.
“A group of donors fronted by an international organisation (name withheld) came up with a plan to establish the Morgan Tsvangirai Institute for Democratic Governance and Social Development. For this they had proposed $3 million,” one of the sources said.
“However, when this was put to Tsvangirai, he declined and wanted at least $7m, with the extra $4m going towards the purchase of his government house.”
Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, yesterday denied any knowledge of the said institute.
“We do not know anything about that institute and naturally the man who the institute is supposed to be named after should be the one to set it up,” Tamborinyoka said. “He does not know anything about it.”
Tamborinyoka also denied that Tsvangirai had asked for $7m to step down. The establishment of the institute, insiders said, was supposed to provide Tsvangirai with a fall-back position after leaving the leadership of the MDC-T.
Calls for Tsvangirai to step-down began immediately after the party’s humiliating loss to Zanu-PF in the July 31 harmonised elections last year. It was the opposition party’s worst showing in elections since its formation 15 years ago.
Among a litany of the party’s leadership who have called for Tsvangirai to step down are exiled treasurer-general Roy Bennett, former Marondera legislator Ian Kay, who characterised Tsvangirai as a “rusty bolt”, as well as former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, who called on the ex-prime minister in the government of national unity to “be the Mandela of the party”.
Mangoma in his position paper suggested the establishment of an institute of governance and creation of a position for Tsvangirai he called “the founding president” if the opposition leader declared his intention to leave.
“I envisage amending the constitution to create the position of founding president. It will give the effect that you would continue to be closely associated with the party and the people’s project, preserve your legacy as a democrat and a brave fighter against dictatorship and one-man-rule,” Mangoma implored Tsvangirai.
“This also enables establishing an institute for governance and social development, which the party will assist in fundraising for the establishment of the same.”
The Zimbabwe Mail is reliably informed that Tsvangirai was not overly against ‘retirement’, but had been forced into defensive action by his lieutenants.
In the aftermath of his ‘advice’ to Tsvangirai, Mangoma is said to have been threatened with violence by MDC-T youths.
A stormy national executive meeting last week ended with the former Energy Minister reportedly losing his powers as deputy treasurer-general. Tsvangirai, sources indicated, assumed all powers to mobilise funds and was now the custodian of the party’s purse strings.
However, party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora denied Mangoma had been stripped of his powers.
“The national executive was not happy with the frequency of the reports the leadership was getting so we requested for more and nobody would be sanctioned for their opinion,” said Mwonzora.
Quizzed on whether Tsvangirai had always been a signatory to the MDC-T accounts, Mwonzora claimed: “That is a security issue I cannot talk about.”
Tsvangirai reportedly warned he was ready to split the party if those agitating for his removal pursued the case any further.